MESQUITE — The surveillance video provided by Mesquite Police is difficult to watch, but it was terrifying to live through, said Cathy Terry.
She used to be the general manager of the Carl's Jr. restaurant at 2104 North Galloway in Mesquite. She opened the restaurant at 6 a.m. on September 17, and minutes later, a man slipped in.
Surveillance video shows the man pacing through the restaurant, then finding an employee and shoving her in the cooler.
Minutes later, he finds Terry.
"My first thought was, 'This is a joke.' Really, I thought he was kidding," she said. "And then I realized he wasn't."
The gunman — described as 6'-2" and about 180 pounds — was wearing a purple fleece top and black wind pants. He had a blue bandanna over his face.
He pushed Terry around at gunpoint, ordering her to empty every cash register drawer and the restaurant's safe. She said she resisted, telling him the safe was on a time lock and that she couldn't open it herself.
Terry said he put the gun closer to her neck and face and said, "Yes you can."
When he pointed the gun at her again and asked, "Do you want to die for Carl's Jr.?" she said she finally agreed to open the safe.
Before he left the store, the gunman shoved Terry into a walk-in cooler with her employee and knocked her in the back of the head with his pistol.
"This was brazen," said Mesquite Police Lt. Bill Hedgpeth. "The quicker we get assistance from the public, the quicker we can find this guy and get him off the street, the safer the public is going to be."
Hedgpeth notes the robber is left-handed, and his gun is chrome or silver and appears to be custom-modified. He hopes those specific details — along with the clear surveillance video — will lead to a tip.
Cathy Terry remained stoic as she was led around at gunpoint, but she's having trouble keeping her emotions in check now. She said her boss gave her a couple of days off after the robbery and then, she says, he fired her for reasons she was told were unrelated.
She choked back tears when talking about the robber.
"What was going on so bad in your life that you had to traumatize mine?" she asked.
Carl's Jr. did not respond to an e-mail asking for information about Terry's termination.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Mesquite Police at 972-285-6336 or 972-216-6254.